Papet Vaudois (Leeks with Potatoes and Sausage)

The leek is one of the vegetables that I find generally plentiful in Europe, all year-round. Yet every time I see it when I do food shopping, I just ignore it. But, it’s not only leeks. I’m also a stranger to other regulars such as artichoke, turnips, endives…there must be even more!

You see, leeks are not very common in the Philippines – or even in Southeast Asia in general – because they just won’t thrive in hot and humid weather. Somehow I learned that it could be found in the Mountain Province, a landlocked, very mountainous, cold region at the north of the Philippines. The cool weather up there might have been conducive for growing this plant, in modest versions for the least. Due to its rarity of course, leeks aren’t part of the Filipino diet.

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Belgian Beef Stew

The closest way to a man's heart is through his stomach. As silly as this cliché sounds, I still fell for it.

My husband and I started dating when at the same time I finally decided to seriously learn how to cook. As I was looking for eager souls who can try out the dishes I'd prepare, one day I nonchalantly invited him for a weekend dinner.

So I began to ask, “What's Belgian cuisine that you miss the most now?”

He grinned and quickly replied, “Belgian beef stew.”

I stared blankly at him as he began describing how this beef stew is prepared and how it tastes like. By the time my potential guinea pig left, I started to seek what this Belgian dish is all about.

Also known as carbonade flamande in French, or in Flemish stoverij or stoofvlees, this hearty, slow-cooked Flemish beef stew recipe is a national dish in Belgium. This Belgian dish has close resemblance with beef bourguignon in the south of France, since the term carbonade may also refer to certain beef stews cooked with red wine. This traditional Belgian sweet-sour beef and onion stew on the other hand, is made with beer, which is the signature element to achieve its distinct flavor. It uses a specific kind of Belgian-style ale and oftentimes a beer with a bitter or hoppy taste is preferred. If a true Belgian beer is not available, it is recommended to use a flavorful brown beer and for some, they suggest an “old stout” or thick beer.

Chicken Tikka Masala

I’m no expert in cooking but I love good food. Now it’s time to stay longer in the kitchen and see if the magic WOKS with me, one recipe at a time.

Chicken tikka masala is a dish of chunks of chicken in a spicy (masala), creamy, orange-colored sauce. There is no standard recipe for this dish. As a matter of fact, according to a 1998 survey by Real Curry Restaurant Guide, there are around 48 different recipes of chicken tikka masala.

Thanks to the recipe I got from allrecipes.com, I was very pleased with my first attempt.  I was too pleased and concentrating too much with the cooking to the extent that I totally forgot to take photos! So I decided to do it again, making sure I will take snapshots. I chose a different recipe this time around, from JamieOliver.com to be exact.

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Dinuguan (Filipino Pork Blood Stew)

I’m no expert in cooking but I love good food. Now it’s time to stay longer in the kitchen and see if the magic WOKS with me, one recipe at a time.

Since some of our Pinay friends will come over Friday night, my friend suggested that I cook a Filipino dish that we hardly serve on regular Swiss days. Off we agreed I prepare dinuguan for us.

Dinuguan (in English, it’s either called pork blood stew, blood pudding stew, or chocolate meat) is a Filipino savory stew of meat and/or offal (typically lungs, kidneys, intestines, ears, heart and snout) simmered in a rich, spicy dark gravy of pig blood, garlic, chili (most often siling mahaba), and vinegar. The term dinuguan comes from the Filipino word dugo meaning “blood”. – wikipedia.org

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